Stormtroopers Assemble: Voodoo Manufacturing & e-NABLE Announce Partnership, Largest Donation of 3D Printed Hands


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3dp_voodoo_logoSome things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, the Doctor and a sonic screwdriver (and/or sunglasses), Stormtroopers and 3D printed prosthetic hands, Voodoo Manufacturing and the Enable Community Foundation. While some of these are old favorites, the latter part of these examples come from a newly-announced partnership that brings together the manufacturing prowess of the team at Voodoo with the incredible work being done via e-NABLE–hallmarked by the single largest donation of prosthetics to date. Voodoo Manufacturing created 150 3D printed Raptor Reloaded hands, being assembled this week at the Autodesk University Convention in Las Vegas, held December 1-3.

Voodoo Manufacturing, the recently launched 3D printing service bureau, offers an experienced team, largely comprised of former MakerBot employees, who bring expertise in both hard- and software. Offering everything from custom parts for small businesses to crowd-sourced cities made with 3D printed towers for an art festival, Voodoo brings to the table substantial force in manufacturing–a particularly valuable offering for an organization based on volunteer production.hand 1

“We want to help e-NABLE focus on what matters most for their organization while we handle the manufacturing. When Jon reached out to us about Autodesk University, they had a deadline quickly approaching, so we put enough 3D printers on the job to get all 150 hands made in less than 5 days,” explained Voodoo’s CEO and Co-Founder Max Friefeld.

e-NABLE_logo_500x5001More than 1,500 people the world over–in more than 40 countries–have benefited from 3D printed hands from e-NABLE. From Aruba to East Africa to Paraguay, and with superheroes from Spider-Man to those portrayed at Marvel Universe LIVE!, e-NABLE has shown us countless times that their worldwide team of volunteers are truly driven to give back to those in need. With many of the beneficiaries of these hands being children in need of low-cost prosthetics that add incredibly to their quality of life, it’s easy to see why those working with e-NABLE are so motivated. Individual cases allow for custom-made hands for many, working on a one-on-one basis, while bulk-printed hands are also valuable for those in regions without regular access to resources or the technology needed, distributed through nonprofits and clinics.

The key of e-NABLE, though, is that the work is done on a volunteer basis–not in a factory. The Enable Community Foundation, formed in February of this year, serves to facilitate donations to the organization. While it’s wonderful to see that those involved are those who truly want to be involved, this can pose capacity issues for those whose lives would benefit from prosthetics.

Enter Voodoo.

“We are fortunate to have Voodoo join our community and delighted to have them become a consistent provider of e-NABLE hands,” said Jon Schull, President of the Enable Community Foundation. “Their generous donation allowed us to provision the Autodesk University showcase and has opened the door for other opportunities for collaboration. A manufacturing partner with their capacity is a huge advance for us.”

For the Autodesk University Convention, Voodoo Manufacturing 3D printed and donated 150 Raptor Reloaded hands for e-NABLE. The hands have been assembled on-site in Las Vegas–and the Empire was there to help. Perhaps inspired by a Darth Vader-looking hand e-NABLE had previously created, or simply to work on their aim ahead of the release of The Force Awakens (just two more weeks!), a team of Stormtroopers sat down and did their part to help with the hands, which e-NABLE will distribute on an as-needed basis.

stormtroopersI had the opportunity to find out more about the collaboration directly from Voodoo’s CEO, Max Friefeld.

How did Voodoo Manufacturing and e-NABLE become involved? When/how did Jon Schull reach out to Voodoo?

The whole team had been following their foundation since the beginning in 2013, so when we started Voodoo, working with e-Nable was one of our early goals. They really represent the power of 3D printing, and low volume manufacturing, to change the world for the better.

We met Jon at the MakerFaire in New York 2015 and told him about our factory. He reached out to us about a month later asking if we could help out with hands for the Autodesk University event. We took on the entire project, and they were able to stop looking for other donors.

How many individuals were involved in this project? How many hours of printing were involved?assembled pink hand

We made 150 individual hands on 30 printers in less than 5 days. The total was about 2,000 print hours. We just handled the printing, not the assembly, so all of it was managed by our single Manufacturing Engineer and Technician, Charlie.

For reference, our factory is capable of running about 1,500 print hours per day, so this was roughly 1/3 of our capacity for those 5 days.

Following this large endeavor, how does Voodoo plan to stay involved with e-NABLE?

We can’t comment on the specific partnership because it’s still in the works. We are working closely with e-Nable’s leadership to build a sustainable relationship so Voodoo can keep printing hands for years to come. We hope to be a key manufacturing partner to help them continue growing and reaching more people in need.

What size(s) and style(s) of hands were created for this donation?raptor reloaded design

The Raptor Reloaded hand comes in two variations (left and right) and 10 sizes. The smaller sizes are more popular as donations because they are easier to print, so we filled the 5 most needed sizes, which were generally larger.

We made 15 of each size in left and right configurations.

How did this experience impact the team at Voodoo?

Honestly, it just kept us incredibly busy for that entire week. We had to invent new process[es] to just track the progress of such a complex order.

While it was challenging in such a short timeline, it was totally worth it. You don’t get to manufacture such life-changing products every day. Knowing that each of these hands is going to change someone’s life for the better is a powerful message to wake up with, we all loved it.

In a greater sense, affordable prosthetics are a fundamental need in this world, and 3D printing has the answer. We’re excited to be a part of that movement, pushing the world forward and helping everyone live the best life they can.

While I’m still hoping to hear back to one question I sent belatedly–what’s with the Stormtroopers?–Friefeld’s responses have served to illuminate what looks to be a powerful partnership. I look forward to following this collaboration as it progresses. Voodoo Manufacturing and e-NABLE: the perfect match? Discuss this story in the Voodoo 3D Printed Hand forum on line

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